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Driving in the Cotswolds

Car Drive

The best way to explore the Cotswolds is by car. This way you can discover the beautiful countryside and pretty villages, stop when something attracts your interest and spend as much time as you wish in any particular place

If travelling by car it will take 1-2 hours to reach the Cotswolds from London, using well signposted major roads. The M4 and M40 motorways provide easy access from London.

It is possible to hire a car in larger towns in and around the Cotswolds. The average cost of hire is from about £60 per day. For more information on car hire visit

Experience driving on open country roads and tour the Cotswolds in traditional style with a classic car : Jaguar E Type Classic Car Hire.

One well established route through the Cotswolds is the Cheltenham based
Romantic Road,
which has its own section on this site.

Driving shouldn’t be too much of a challenge in this mainly rural area, especially as in England we also drive on the left hand side of the road. To encourage you, here are some points to consider!

The brown and white coloured signs are used to direct visitors to attractions, accommodation and places of interest that are not so easy to find.

Road signs often indicate the distance to the next town or village. This distance is shown in miles.

This road sign means No Entry. If you see this sign when you are driving you must not proceed beyond the sign. You will usually find an alternative route signposted.

The best way to explore the Cotswolds is to 'get off of the beaten track'. The country lanes can be very scenic and quite quiet. This is a good way to discover some of the less well known places in the Cotswolds.

If you intend to drive in the Cotswolds you are sure to need to know about roundabouts! The basic principle to bear in mind is that you always give way to cars approaching the roundabout to your right. When all is clear you follow the road around the left-hand side of the roundabout. Roundabouts come in all sizes - from large, with grass and even trees in the middle, to mini with the centre just painted on the road, but there should always be a signpost to warn you when you are approaching one.

Traffic lights are sometimes used at road junctions and pedestrian crossings.

You will find plenty of petrol stations or garages in and around the Cotswolds. Most are open Monday to Saturday. Some are open until late at night, and on Sundays.
You will be expected to use the pumps to fill your car up yourself - this is quite easy, and you can always ask for help if you are not sure. After you have filled the car up you pay for the petrol in the shop, remembering to state the number of the petrol pump you used.
Petrol station shops are often like mini grocery shops selling cigarettes, magazines, food and drinks. Most accept major credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Switch, American Express).

When you see this sign it means you are approaching a junction where you need to stop to give way to other traffic.

The national speed limit in the UK is 60 miles per hour on main roads. In some areas the speed limit is reduced, particularly in towns and villages, and it will be indicated by this type of sign. For example, this sign means that the speed limit is 40 miles per hour.

Car parks can be found in all towns and some villages in the Cotswolds, just follow the blue 'P' for parking sign. Many operate a 'Pay and Display' scheme - you purchase a ticket from the ticket machine and then display it in the car window. If you do need to park on the side of the road make sure you do not park where double yellow lines are painted on the road - this means no parking.